In Public Schools

from the "outside" looking "in"

Curriculum Versus Work

Posted by Admin On April - 9 - 2010

ARE STUDENTS PREPARED

 

SCOapril09The schools face a financial crisis and part of the problem in the preparation of students for work comes from that shortage. Many schools that once offered curriculum that included vocational arts, computer science and other specialties, including college preparation now face cutbacks and a watered down curriculum. Those that still offer true vocational arts programs, however, deal with issues of helping the student make their skills marketable by increasing the communication ability of the students.

Even with the programs in place, students still leave the high school with few marketable skills for the jobs. For those in a general education course, often the basic math capabilities, reading and communication skills are limited at best and totally absent at worst.  This leaves the student ill prepared for any position, such as store clerk, that requires not only the ability to communicate effectively but also some basic math.

In order to attack the problem of sending illiterate and ill-prepared students into the job market, most schools adopted a core curriculum.  The core curriculum is one year of college preparatory courses and includes a foreign language, more focus on English, science and mathematics. This movement is now nationwide.

The focus on core skills occurs because many students are not yet ready to make a decision on their future occupation. It also addresses the fact that Johnny simply can’t read or write intelligently after he successfully received his diploma and threw his mortarboard into the air. The tug between a focus on vocational and practical arts programs and core curriculum still leaves many students with watered down versions of both.

In an attempt to face the issue, many schools have adopted alternative programs that involve internships and work experience in areas such as health care, auto mechanics, electrical occupations, computer science and construction. These programs allow the child to utilize more time in school for core instruction while attaining experience and education in job they wish to explore.

The dilemma of the ill-prepared students does not begin at the high school level but earlier in the learning career of the child. The failure of the school system at the upper grades is simply a reflection of the failure of the system and curriculum at the primary education level.

Schools no longer teach but simply control the masses of children. They face an overwhelming task of accommodating every potential special needs child with kid glove empathy and making certain that no one feels failure. In an attempt to do this, they fail the students by allowing children to pass the grade without the basic skills, simply because they have a special situation.

This biased and unfair practice tells those children they don’t have the capabilities to learn. Instead of insisting on basic skill levels in the classroom, teachers adjust grades for the short falls of the student. This is the most insidious form of insult, not only to the educational system but also to the student himself. The teacher no longer believes that there is hope to teach this child, and because of it, all learning ceases.

Compensation for attention deficit, English as a second language, at risk children or other blocks to learning should not become the rallying point for lower expectations. Instead of lowering the bar for these students and admitting defeat, the school corporation needs to focus on setting standards of excellence and doggedly sticking to them.  The schools can only accomplish this task by a more stringent belief that students can meet expectations and accept no excuse for failure.  Only then will the schools provide students prepared to enter the work force.

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5 Responses to “Curriculum Versus Work”

  1. This is one of the most incredible blogs Ive read in a very long time. The amount of information in here is stunning, like you practically wrote the book on the subject. Your blog is great for anyone who wants to understand this subject more. Great stuff; please keep it up!

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  3. Anonymous says:

    I recommend reading the recent book by Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System. It’s a great read that addresses education issues in America after No Child Left Behind. Google in her appearance on television with Jon Stewart, as well. You can follow Diane Ravitch on Twitter, as she is a well educated school reformer.

  4. Admin says:

    This is an excellant recommendation. Let my readers pursue this as they continue their own personal journey within the system.

  5. website says:

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